Meringue for a Buche de Noel

Meringue "puffs" are placed on a half sheet pan before baking to make the decorative mushrooms.

INGREDIENTS

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch cream of tartar

1 cup, less 3 tablespoons, granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (for assembly)

 

DIRECTIONS

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form.

Decrease the speed to medium and dust in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, whip the mixture on high speed until fluffy and stiff.

Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the vanilla.

Transfer the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a No. 12 straight piping tip.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pipe a dozen quarter-sized disks onto the sheet to make mushroom "caps." Then pipe a dozen half-inch "stems" onto the sheet. (See photos.)

Bake at 275 degrees for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until hard.

To assemble: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and set aside.

Using a skewer, carefully tap a nail-sized hole into the flat side of each disk. Dip the pointed top of each stem in the chocolate and gently fix each stem into the nail sized whole of each disk. *

Michele Tranquilli